MIDWAY : Learning with humour

Bikalpa Adhikari

The exercise of remembering lengthy and boring lessons during exams is a tedious but nonetheless a vital task. If a lot of students panic at the thought of it, others consider it a nightmare. With success in each grade, one heads towards responsibility. The volume of things-to-remember that adds up, and the preoccupation of the mind further try to douse the enthusiasm for reading, besides ones retentivity. The desire of the students for studies and the pedagogy that exist in our circumstances seldom offers any impetus for studies, even as education pundits opine that agreeable ambiance with a degree of humour is conducive for studies.

Studies can’t be set aside just on the grounds of aversion, hatred and its demand for a great deal of effort on one’s part. Being an unavoidable necessity, we are bound to find a feasible way out. But new ways of memorising a plethora of points and enumerated facts from voluminous books can also be sometimes humorous — as mnemonics have proved. As with others, medical studies too are fraught with causes, signs, symptoms, complications of every disease; branches and tributaries of the arteries and veins, and much more. This means you either mug up things as they are or device new ways of remembering them without fail.

Early on, we had a difficulty learning by heart the serial order and attributes of the eight branches of the carotid artery. To our amazement, any doubts we had about resorting to such mundane a tactic by way of learning was all dispelled when one of our lecturers himself one day retorted: “Sister Lucy’s Powdered Face Often Attracts Medical Students.” Carotid artery was not so hard a nut to crack, thereafter.

This was just the beginning. There were umpteen of them. And mnemonics became an instant rage with our batch, as it had done with others. But it takes quite a bit of an imagination to come out with one on your own. Praiseworthy as coining the condensed formula is, the element of humour associated with some of them is even more laudable. It eliminates boredom too. After this introduction with mnemonics, students started coming out with an avalanche of them. They had their own ones. If, “Some Say Marry Money But My Brother Says Big Brains Matter Most” offered the safest way out of the maze of the twelve cranial nerves, so did “Doctors Eat Good Food,” from the complex serial sequence of the four nuclei of the hind brain, cerebellum, inward out.